The Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Yoga Mat

yoga mat

You wouldn’t buy a new car without researching the best models and consulting reviews, would you? And if you were in the market for a new pair of shoes, you wouldn’t buy them without trying them on and walking around in them first. Why should your yoga mat be any different? With hundreds of different yoga mats on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you or what to look out for before you make your purchase—that’s why we’ve put together this guide on the dos and don’ts of buying a yoga mat!

Things to look for when buying a yoga mat

  1. Material – A higher quality mat is usually made with natural materials like rubber or cork that are eco-friendly, non-toxic, easily washable, durable, lightweight, and softer than synthetic materials. While the type of material may not matter to some yogis it does affect how well the mat grips the ground which can be important for certain poses.
  2. Size – If you’re new to yoga you might want to buy a smaller-sized mat that’s 5′-6′ long by 24 wide because they are easy to carry around but have enough room for most positions.
  3. Length – Again this depends on your height, but generally the longer your mat the better it will fit into more poses and make balancing easier.
  4. Width – You’ll need at least 24 inches if you’re doing arm balances, so if space isn’t an issue make sure your mat has enough width for your needs.
  5. Length – Again this depends on your height, but generally the longer your mat the better it will fit into more poses and make balancing easier.
  6. Thickness – When choosing the thickness, think about what feels right for you. Thinner mats are more versatile as they won’t bunch up under your hands when in Downward Dog and Backbends. But thicker mats offer better cushioning for people who spend lots of time in less intense practices like restorative or gentle Hatha Yoga
  7. Weight – You don’t want a heavy mat that weighs you down! That being said, there are also many great lightweight mats available today so it’s just a matter of preference. 8. Price Range – Be careful not to overpay just because something is designer or endorsed by someone famous!

Things to avoid when buying a yoga mat

  • Stay away from mats that have slippery rubber. If your mat has a coating on it that feels slick, it’s more likely to stick to the floor when you sweat or if you step out of balance. This can lead to injury and frustration with your yoga practice.
  • Yoga mats shouldn’t be too thin, but also shouldn’t be too thick. You should always be able to find the perfect thickness in a good, quality mat. However, there are also different thicknesses depending on what type of surface you’ll use your mat on: if you practice on hard floors, opt for thicker mats; otherwise thinner is better so the grip doesn’t hurt your knees or hips when in certain poses.
  • Consider whether you need an eco-friendly mat made of natural materials. These are not cheap, but they will last longer than synthetic mats and be gentler for the environment. They also come in various lengths (72 inches or 108 inches) so consider this before purchasing as well.
  • If you plan to do hot yoga (more than 90 degrees), think about investing in a mat designed specifically for this kind of workout–these usually have extra moisture protection and anti-slip grips.

How to clean your yoga mat?

  1. Soak your mat in warm water with two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in it for at2 hours or more.
  2. Clean the mat by scrubbing the top with a bristle brush, then rinsing thoroughly to remove any residue from the baking soda.
  3. The most common practice is to let your mat air dry, but you can also roll it up like a carpet, wrap it up tight with plastic wrap, then step on it for about 15 minutes to squeeze out as much moisture as possible before letting it air dry or rolling again and stepping on again.

While I personally have never tried this method, I do know that some people have trouble cleaning their mats if they are particularly sweaty. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider purchasing a second yoga mat so that one can be left in its bag when not being used while one gets cleaned (remember, though, that mats only last so long). One final word of advice: always unroll your yoga mat before use!

What are the types of yoga mats?

There are two types of yoga mats: non-slip mats and sticky mats. Non-slip mats are meant to be used in hot yoga classes where the studio is heated to upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They do not have any rubber or silicone, which is what makes them slip. Non-slip mats come in different weights as well, from heavy-duty mats for really intense practices to lighter, more flexible versions that work great for home practice. Sticky mats are made with a special kind of material called memory foam on the bottom that keeps them firmly anchored down even when you sweat profusely during class. The downside is that they tend to cost significantly more than their non-sticky counterparts. Plus, if you’re looking for a mat to bring outside your house (because no one wants to clean up your sweat), these are typically too big and bulky.

Mats can also vary in thicknesses depending on how sweaty or demanding your practice will be. A basic beginner’s mat might only be three millimeters thick while an advanced practitioner could go up to six millimeters thick. Thicker mats might give you extra padding but also require some extra effort because they’re heavier and take up more space so they won’t fit in your closet without taking up half the room!

How to practice on various surfaces?

Soft surfaces like carpets, pillows, and yoga mats are the most common areas for practicing yoga. In certain styles like Vinyasa or Ashtanga, it is not necessary to use a mat when you practice indoors on hardwood floors. When practicing on concrete or cement floors with the intention of adding more padding for your knees, feet, back and hands; the carpeting is an ideal surface to use. By using rug pads which you can purchase from your local hardware store or department store, you can turn any surface into an area that is suitable for doing various poses without worrying about slipping or having sore joints.

Mats that come in standard sizes of 24 inches by 68 inches are enough for performing basic exercises but they may be too small if you’re planning on performing postures in Virabhadrasana II or Utthita Parsvakonasana (both stances require quite a bit of space). If this sounds like something you would do, be sure to get at least a 36-inch by 68-inch mat. Mats made out of natural rubber have pores designed to allow perspiration to escape easily so your mat won’t be slippery after sitting down for long periods of time. Mats made out of foam usually have handles and rolled edges to provide extra grip as well as protect against fraying at the ends due to wear and tear over time.


Whether you’re buying your first yoga mat or your 50th, it can be hard to know what the best mat is for you. Consider using the Yogi Interviewing Program (YIP) to help find one that’s right for you. Remember that price does not necessarily reflect quality. With so many types out there, it’s important to do some research before making a decision. 


If you have any additional questions about what type of mat is best for you or have found an interesting new brand, leave us a comment below!


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